Movie Review: Daniel Isn’t Real

December 9, 2019

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely - Horror Fuel CEO & Executive Producer Email: [email protected]



I sat down last night to watch director Adam Egypt Mortimer’s most recent film, Daniel Isn’t Real, with no expectations thanks to the vague synopsis that was released. I have to say, that avoiding giving out a lot of information was a fantastic idea. We often have movies spoiled by too detailed synopsis and movie trailers.

The story follows a young man named Luke who is struggling with life. His mom is mentally ill and he’s having issues himself. When his shrink learns of Luke’s childhood imaginary friend Daniel he recommends revisiting the friend who has been locked in a dollhouse since Luke’s childhood. At first, it seems that the imaginary friend is a good thing, Daniel is bringing Luke out of his shell. But things quickly go to hell in a handbasket.

Miles Robbins stars as Luke, a kind, soft-hearted man who fears that his mother’s mental problems may have been handed down to him. With Daniel (Patrick Schwarzenegger), Luke becomes adventurous and bold, but Daniel is a bad, bad boy. Ultimately, Luke has a tough decision to make.

The surprise is that the story has a huge supernatural twist. One that doesn’t completely make sense. Watch the movie and you’ll understand what I mean. The movie was going good up to last fifteen minutes when the demon and the alternate universe are introduced, then it just gets weird. If the whole demon bit was left on the edit room floor the film would have been better off. If the demon was meant to be so important it should have been a bigger part of the film. I have to say I did like the ending though.

The special effects are mostly well done, except for the demon, it looks a bit cheap and ugly and not in a good way. I can’t help but wonder if it was an afterthought and if the demon was made by a third grader during arts and crafts hour. The demon and the other universe just feels out of place.

On a different note, the acting was great. Robbins and Schwarzenegger really brought out the best in each. Even though their characters were pretty much polar opposites but their chemestry made the friendship believable. So bravo to them.

Daniel Isn’t Real, written by Brian DeLeeuw based on his novel, is worth a watch even if the film has its flaws. I’m giving it a 3 out of 5, because I just can’t get past the alternate universe/demon thing. I also feel that I must warn you, if you have a seizure condition triggered by flashing lights, you might want to be careful while watching.

Daniel Isn’t Real is out on Digital and VOD now.


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